Facebook Lite

If you’ve embraced social networking for building community, chances are that you have both a Twitter and a Facebook account.  Both services have common elements – you have a profile and you post updates to people that care to read them.

There are, of course, significant differences between the way that the two of them operate and in the additional value that each bring to you as a user.  Facebook asks for more information about you and offers more than just the ability to update your status.  You can play games, take surveys, post pictures and video, and so much more.  Twitter is all about the updates and there are many, many additional outside services that you access in order to get the whole package.

Facebook offers more control over who reads your updates.  You post to Facebook expecting that your handpicked followers will read what’s up with you.  Twitter is more open and when you post an update there, you have the expectation that everyone could read your update should they wish.  Chances are it won’t happen though.  You’re more likely to appeal to those who follow you or those who happen to be searching for a particular term that you might use in a message.

Followers are generated in different ways as well.  By default, in Twitter, anyone can follow your updates unless you do something to prohibit them like protecting your updates or blocking individuals.  Facebook, on the other hand, works on the premise that you control who is allowed to view your updates and the rest of the world is prohibited.  Privacy is one of the huge issues surrounding these services and you don’t have to go far to read about it.  It is good reading and everyone should take the time to research and understand what’s happening.

One of the negative points that you’ll hear when people talk about Facebook is its big and relatively slow interface.  In order to get all of the functionality to you, much information and setup needs to be pushed to your desktop upon login.  Of note is the navigation bar that appears at the bottom of the screen.

While we’re not talking minutes here, the interface does take some time to navigate.  I’ve actually got into the habit of using my iPod to check and post to my Facebook account rather than using a browser.  It’s fast and gets me right where I typically want to go.

So, what’s the compromise to all of this?  Facebook now offers a “lite” service that’s available as a preview at http://lite.facebook.com.  What you’ve got here is access to much of the community elements of Facebook that is displayed to you at incredible speed.  Check out your wall, friend updates, photos and videos through this service.  If you’re needing speed, just the updates, and you like the security of friends that Facebook affords, this might just be the ideal solution.  The developers have done a marvelous job of getting just this sort of information to you as efficiently as possible.  If you’re a dialup internet user and have stayed away from Facebook for performance reasons, this might be just the solution.

If you use Facebook for the surveys and the games, it’s classic Facebook for you at present.  After all, you don’t want to get nudges from your friends that it’s your turn in Word Twist.  But, if you’re looking for just connecting with friends with more control over who reads what, take the Lite version for a test.  It’s now available in Canada so there’s no excuse not to spend a few moments to see if there’s a fit for you.

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links for 2009-09-19